Beef recall expanded again
Published Wednesday, September 26, 2012 6:50AM MDT
Last Updated Wednesday, September 26, 2012 6:37PM MDT
The beef recall concerning contaminated beef produced from Edmonton-based XL Foods has spread again with the CFIA issuing an alert for 60 more products.
The recalled products range from hamburger patties, to bratwurst, meatballs, pepperoni, and jerky.
All of the products were sold at Co-op, Super-A, or Bigway stores in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba.
There have been no reported illnesses of anyone consuming the meat.
Nearly 300 ground beef products have now been recalled.
Alberta Health Services confirms that it is treating eight cases of E. coli poisoning in the province.
Three cases are in the Calgary area, one is in Central Alberta, and four are in Edmonton.
The province says more testing is needed before a link to the tainted meat can be made.
“As part of our investigation, we’re looking for – are there any links between the cases that we’re investigating? Is there something that’s a common source and there isn’t at this point. We certainly do keep in mind that there is this recall. But, we don’t jump to that because we have to do a very thorough investigation to make sure that we’re not missing anything,” says Dr. Judy MacDonald of the AHS.
A review from CFIA found there were disconnects in reporting high levels of E. coli in the meat at the XL Foods plant.
Federal officials say there were more cattle that usual with E. coli in the plant back in August and that XLs own testing and decontamination should have weeded them out.
That didn't happen and the meat went out to market.
A union representative for CFIA inspectors inside the plant says the problem really stems from the decision to allow meat producers to be in charge of their own testing.
The rep says that kind of self regulation opened the door to this kind of problem.
'They're self regulating, they do the sampling, they do the testing, they determine if the product is contaminated. In this case, my understanding is the plant did do testing but it wasn't picked up," said Fabian Murphy.
The CFIA admits that the plant didn't properly report the high levels of E. coli.
"Where there was a shortfall is that those individual events weren't being connected and it wasn't a matter of someone, it was a question of not recognizing that that was a critical thing to do," said Dr. Richard Arsenault.
The USDA FSIS found the E. coli tainted beef during the import process more than three weeks ago and that triggered the health warning and recall here.
XL Foods released a statement on Wednesday expressing concern for those ill with E. coli and it is working with the CFIA on a response plan in light of the contamination and recall.